Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is standing by his decision to don a Purim costume that some people have described as offensive “blackface.” The outfit, which consisted of brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses in what Mr. Hikind described as a representation of a “black basketball player”provoked widespread outrage after Politicker first wrote about it this morning. However, in a post on his personal website bluntly titled “It’s Purim. People Dress Up,” Mr. Hikind argued his critics don’t understand the nature of the Purim holiday, a costume and wine-fueled reverie commemorating a time when Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind hosted a massive Purim party at his home yesterday that featured over fourteen hours of food and drink and, as is customary on the Jewish holiday, elaborate costumes. Mr. Hikind said a professional makeup artist came to his home to transform him into a “basketball player” with a costume that consisted of an afro wig, sunglasses, an orange jersey and brown face paint.
“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players. Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player,” Mr. Hikind explained. “It was just a lot of fun. Everybody just had a very, very good time and every year I do something else. … The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, his Republican counterpart in New Jersey, are willing to admit they have at least one thing in common: strong, Sicilian mothers. Mr. Christie pointed out this fact earlier this week while denying reports he privately discussed agreeing with Mr. Cuomo on a wide variety of issues. Today, Mr. Cuomo responded during a budget-related press conference where he playfully hinted at the unusually “powerful” influence Sicilian mothers have on their children.
“I understood that the governor said we both have Sicilian mothers, which is true,” Mr. Cuomo said when asked about Mr. Christie’s comments. “They can be a strong force on development–I don’t know on political philosophy–but on personal development, the Sicilian mother is a very powerful force.”
The latest edition of State Senator Ruben Diaz’s periodic “What You Should Know” email columns contained an attack against Gerson Borrero, a NY1 contributor and columnist for the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario. In his email, Mr. Diaz accused Mr. Borrero of lying about him, having a “deep obsession” with him and even “trying to imitate my dressing style.”
“There are some people who, when they fall in love or feel envious, may easily feel rejected. Any real or perceived rejection could bring them to the edge of absurdity. Sometimes they even become liars,” Mr. Diaz wrote. “This seems to be true in the case of Mr. Gerson Borrero, a reporter, who has issues with me. If you read or hear Mr. Borrero’s writings or commentaries about me, you might think this individual has a deep obsession with me.”
Mr. Borrero had some harsh words of his own for Mr. Diaz when Politicker called him to discuss the column this morning.
“I’m not particularly obsessed with him like he suggests,” said Mr. Borrero. “I’m definitely not enamored with him. I don’t like him, I’ve never had such bad taste. I think he’s an ugly person, not physically, he is an ugly human being. I think he is Lucifer personified.”
In his State of the City address today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a plan to ban styrofoam in stores and restaurants citing a lack of biodegradability and high recycling costs that he called “terrible for the environment” and “terrible for taxpayers.” State Senator Liz Krueger responded to the mayor’s speech by jumping on his ban-wagon and taking it one step further–calling on the Legislature to ban styrofoam statewide.
“In his State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he will prioritize banning styrofoam food containers in New York City,” Ms. Krueger said. “This would be a great step forward for our city, both for the environment and public health – but we shouldn’t just stop at the city limits.”
A couple days ago, the New York Daily News reported former Governor Eliot Spitzer “is being talked about” as a potential primary candidate against incumbent Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a move he had reportedly seriously considered in 2010. On NY1′s Inside City Hall last night, however, Mr. Spitzer dismissed the speculation and labeled Mr. DiNapoli “a buddy.”
“It was a tabloid and you know I’ve always said … to you, ‘I never trust what’s in the tabloids!’” Mr. Spitzer declared over the protestations of host the show’s host, Errol Louis, a former Daily News columnist.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a lengthy statement responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night commending the president’s education proposals, call to raise the minimum wage and commitment to gun control.
“President Obama put forward a bold, comprehensive agenda in his 2013 State of the Union Address that continues to rebuild our nation’s economy and strengthens the middle class,” the governor began. “The vision President Obama presented tonight is one we embrace here in New York. The President laid out an agenda for a vibrant American future, where we work together to bring jobs back from overseas, train our young people to have the skills they need to succeed in the workforce, and ensure those who work long and hard hours can provide for their families.”
Andrew Cuomo is among the mourners attending Ed Koch’s funeral today in Manhattan, but the governor and his family didn’t always enjoy the best relationship with the former mayor.
Koch ran against Governor Cuomo’s father, Mario, twice. They first faced off when Koch made it to City Hall in the 1977 mayoral election. In 1982, Koch ran for governor and was defeated by the elder Mr. Cuomo. The 1977 campaign included an incident where posters alluding to the widespread rumors about Mr. Koch’s sexuality by proclaiming “Vote For Cuomo, Not The Homo” were placed all along Queens Boulevard.
This situation evidently caused a lasting rift between Koch and the Cuomos. However in one of his final interviews with Politicker, Koch explained the signs weren’t among the reasons he initially had issues with Cuomo the younger.
Up in Smoke
While a growing number of states have been legalizing medical and even recreational use of marijuana, the popular plant remains illegal in New York. However, an upcoming pair of new medical marijuana bills in the Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug may signal the Empire State is on its way to looser marijuana regulations.
National Rifle Association President David Keene gave a rare post-Newtown interview on the Brooklyn GOP Radio podcast this evening in which he responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vow to bring New York some of the “toughest” gun control laws in the country. Mr. Keene began by taking issue with Governor Cuomo’s prediction that other states would follow New York’s example and pass similar laws.
“I was amazed that he said other states will follow New York,” Mr. Keene said. “They haven’t done that in the past, there’s no reason to believe that they will in the future.”
Mr. Keene continued by noting “New York already has very tough gun laws” and predicting Governor Cuomo’s gun control plan would not “make any difference one way or the other in terms of violence of any kind in the state.”